rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book has 'me' written all over it. So much so that I wish I had bought it rather than borrowed it from the library. I may have to invest. Fuchsia goes abroad under the intention of studying Chinese and having a nice cultural experience. After becoming disillusioned with the Chinese way of teaching language and realising that she's not learning a thing, she chucks in her course and starts hanging out in cafes and restaurants, chatting to the locals about what they are cooking, and eventually wheedling her way into a somewhat prestigious Sichuan cooking school. This sets her on a learning curve that ends with her becoming one of the few non-Chinese experts on Sichuanese cooking.
The part I loved the most was her slow progression from one who could not even look at a thousand year egg, to one that would happily chomp down on goose intestines and duck tongues. Personally, I haven't made it that far yet. And my experiences have been mostly of a Japanese nature. But having been a vegetarian for 25 years and then slowly starting to become accustomed to eating flesh in the form of seafood (and the unavoidable bacon that is in EVERYTHING in Japan)I felt an affinity to Ms. Dunlop when reading this.
I think anyone who has gone abroad to study and/ or work and has lived in a foreign culture for a period of time could relate to her stories. If you are actually interested in Chinese cooking and the history of said cuisine, all the better.
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